Roasted Asparagus With Buttered Almonds, Capers and Dill

1 1/3 pounds/600 grams asparagus, woody ends trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons/30 grams unsalted butter
Scant 1/4 cup/20 grams sliced (flaked) almonds
3 tablespoons/30 grams baby capers, patted dry on paper towels (kitchen paper)
1/4 to 1/2 cup/5 to 10 grams roughly chopped dill

Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet (baking tray) with parchment paper.

In a large bowl or on a work surface, use your hands or tongs to toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon oil, a generous pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Arrange asparagus in the paper-lined pan, spaced well apart, and roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until asparagus is soft and starting to brown in places, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from oven and set aside in the pan.

In a small or medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until foamy. Add almonds and fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes (reduce heat as needed to prevent scorching). Pour almonds and butter evenly over asparagus.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat over high heat. Once hot, add the capers and fry, stirring continuously, until they have opened up and become crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove capers from the oil and sprinkle over the asparagus. Add dill. Using tongs or two spoons, mix gently to combine, transfer to a large plate and serve warm.

Cauliflower, Grape, and Cheddar Salad

1 large head cauliflower broken into bite sized florets
6 tablespoons sunflower or other light oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly crushed
2/3 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3 oz aged Cheddar cheese, coarsely crumbled
2/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss the cauliflower florets with half of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil with the vinegar, mustard, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the raisins and let them marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the hazelnuts, grapes, Cheddar and parsley. Pour the raisins and dressing over the top, toss together, transfer to a large platter, and serve.

Rosemary, Olive Oil, and Orange Cake

FOR THE CRYSTALLIZED ROSEMARY:
10 small rosemary sprigs, no more than 1 inch/3 centimeters each in size (see note)
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)

FOR THE CAKE:
About 2 tablespoons/30 grams unsalted butter, softened, for greasing the pan
2 cups/240 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour), more to flour the pan
3/4 cup/160 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon/120 grams superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from about 1 1/2 oranges)
1 1/2 tablespoons/7 grams packed finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 large eggs
1/2 cup/130 grams sour cream
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

FOR THE ORANGE ICING:
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 3/4 cups/175 grams sifted confectioners’ sugar, or 1 1/2 cups/150 grams sifted icing sugar

At least 6 hours before you plan to ice the cake, prepare the crystallized rosemary: Brush rosemary on all sides with a little of the egg white and then dip it in the sugar, so the needles are lightly coated on all sides. Set aside on a wire rack to dry. Repeat with remaining rosemary.

Make the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit/160 degrees Celsius. Generously grease a 9-inch/23-centimeter Bundt pan with half the butter and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Butter again, generously, and then flour it, tapping away the excess.

Put olive oil, superfine sugar, orange zest and chopped rosemary leaves in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until combined, then add eggs, one at a time. Whisk for another minute, until thick, then add sour cream and mix until combined on low speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the whisk.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the olive oil mixture and mix until combined. Increase speed to high and whisk for 1 minute.

Scrape batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top with a small spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. (You may want to trim the cake at this stage, if it rises unevenly, to allow it to sit flat on the plate.)

Prepare the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. When the cake has cooled, drizzle icing on top, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake, then top with the crystallized rosemary and serve.

Roast Chicken and Rice Salad with Shiso

1 organic or free-range chicken, weighing about 3 1/4 pounds (or about 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken meat, and about 4 1/2 cups cooked and shredded)
4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 heaping cup basmati rice
1/3 cup wild rice
1/3 scant cup brown rice
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
4 mild red chiles, seeded and cut into thin strips
3 cups cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
20 shiso leaves, shredded (or arugula)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Rub the chicken with a scant 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375°F and continue to roast for 50 to 60 minutes, basting with the juices occasionally, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature. Reserve the cooking juices.

While the chicken is roasting, cook the rice. Place the basmati in a saucepan with 1 2/3 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to minimum, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and cool completely.

Place the wild and brown rices in a saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover the rice by at least 3 times its volume. Bring to a boil and simmer gently, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until the rice is tender but still retains a little firmness. If the water runs low, top up with extra boiling water. Drain through a sieve and run under plenty of cold water to stop the cooking. Leave there to drain.

Carve the meat from the chicken or simply tear it off in largish chunks. Put it in a bowl large enough to hold the whole salad.

To make the dressing, in a separate bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together with the cooking juices from the chicken. Pour the dressing over the chicken and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, add the onion and a pinch of salt, and fry over medium heat until golden. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Add the 3 rices, fried onion and green onions, chiles, and chopped herbs to the chicken. Mix well, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

Na’ama’s Fattoush

scant 1 cup /200 g Greek yogurt and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp/200 ml whole milk, OR 1 2/3 cups/400 ml buttermilk (replacing both yogurt and milk)
2 large stale Turkish flatbread or naan (9 oz/250 g in total)
3 large tomatoes (13 oz/ 380 g in total), cut into 2/3-inch/1.5 cm dice
3 oz/100 g radishes, thinly sliced
3 Lebanese or mini cucumbers (9 oz/250 g in total), peeled and chopped into 2/3-inch/1.5cm dice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 oz/15 g fresh mint
scant 1 oz/25 g flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dried mint
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup/60 ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sumac or more to taste, to garnish

If using yogurt and milk, start at least 3 hours and up to a day in advance by placing both in a bowl. Whisk well and leave in a cool place or in the fridge until bubbles form on the surface. What you get is a kind of homemade buttermilk, but less sour.

Tear the bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add your fermented yogurt mixture or commercial buttermilk, followed by the rest of the ingredients, mix well, and leave for 10 minutes for all the flavors to
combine.

Spoon the fattoush into serving bowls, drizzle with some olive oil, and garnish generously with sumac.

Mee Goreng

2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz firm tofu, cut into 3/8-inch-thick strips
4 oz green beans, trimmed and cut in half at an angle
4 oz choi sum (or bok choy), cut into large chunks (both leaves and stalks)
11 oz fresh egg noodles
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sambal oelek (or another savory chile paste), plus extra to serve
2 tsp thick soy sauce
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp water
2 oz Mung bean sprouts
handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
1 tbsp crisp-fried shallots
lemon wedges for serving

Set a wok or a large pan on high heat. Once hot, add the oil
and then the onion, and cook for about 1 minute to soften a bit.

Add the tofu and French beans and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to
give the tofu a bit of color. Stir gently as you cook, trying not to break up the tofu.

Next, add the choi sum. When it wilts add the noodles and
carefully spread them in the wok using tongs or large chopsticks. You want the noodles to get a lot of heat, almost to fry. Mix gently, cooking the noodles for about 2 minutes. Now add the spices, sambal oelek, soy sauces, water and bean sprouts and toss carefully. Cook for about a minute, or until the noodles are semisoft.

When ready, top with lettuce, transfer to serving bowls and
sprinkle with crisp shallots. On the side, serve lemon wedges and a small bowl of extra sambal oelek.

Winter Slaw

6 tablespoons lime juice
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small
pieces
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp chile flakes
4 tbsp light olive oil or sunflower oil
1 1/4 cups macadamia nuts
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chile flakes
7 inner leaves of Savoy cabbage (6 ounces, total), finely shredded
1/2 red cabbage (10 oz), finely shredded
1 mango, cut into thin strips
1 papaya, cut into strips
1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely sliced
1/4 cup mint, leaves picked and roughly
chopped
1 1/2 cups cilantro, leaves picked and roughly chopped

To make the dressing. Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a small saucepan and reduce over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat. Once cooled down, strain the sauce into a bowl and add the oil. Put aside for later.

Place the macadamias in a frying pan over medium heat and dry-
roast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly colored on all sides. Add the butter. When it has melted add the sugar, salt and chile flakes. Use a wooden spoon to stir constantly to coat the nuts in the sugar as it caramelizes. Watch carefully as it will only take 1 to 2 minutes and the sugar can burn quickly. Turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Cool the nuts, then roughly chop them.

Place the shredded cabbages in a large mixing bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients, including the nuts. Add the dressing and toss together. Taste and add more salt if you need it before serving.

Shakshuka

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced
2 red bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch strips
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch strips
4 tsp muscovado sugar
2 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra to
garnish
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp saffron threads
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper
up to 1 cup water
8 eggs

In a very large pan dry-roast the cumin seeds on high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the peppers, sugar and herbs and continue cooking on high heat for 5 to 10 minutes to get a nice color.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne and some salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. During the
cooking keep adding water so that the mix has a pasta sauce
consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavorful. (You can prepare this mix well in advance.)

Remove the bay leaves, then divide the pepper mix among four deep frying pans, each large enough to take a generous individual portion. Place them on medium heat to warm up, then make two gaps in the pepper mix in each pan and carefully break an egg into each gap. Sprinkle with salt and cover the pans with lids. Cook on a very (!) gentle heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime and Chilies

2 limes
Maldon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
2 tbsp cardamom pods
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lime juice
1 green chile, thinly sliced
2/3 cup picked cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Trim off the limes’ tops and bases using a small sharp knife. Stand each lime on a chopping board and cut down the sides of the fruit, following its natural curves, to remove the skin and white pith. Quarter the limes from top to
bottom, and cut each quarter into thin slices, about 1/8 inch thick.

Place them in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stir and set aside.

Next, cut the squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut each half, top to bottom, into 3/8-inch-thick slices and lay them out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place the cardamom pods in a mortar and work with a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods. Discard the pods and work the seeds to a rough powder. Transfer to a small bowl, add the
allspice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, stir well and brush this mixture over the butternut slices. Sprinkle over a little salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender when tested with the point of a knife. Remove from the oven and set aside
to cool. Peel off the skin, or leave on if you prefer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. The sauce should be thick but runny enough to pour. Add more water if necessary.

To serve, arrange the cooled butternut slices on a serving platter and drizzle with the yogurt sauce. Spoon over the lime slices and their juices and scatter the chile slices over the top. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs total)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 fresh red chile, finely diced
1 cup cilantro, leaves picked
Dipping sauce
1/2 lemongrass stalk
3/4 cup creme fraiche
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them. Cut each lengthways in half. Cut again lengthways into quarters and then once more in the same way, so you are left in the end with eight long wedges.

Place them in a roasting pan that has been lined with parchment paper and brushed lightly with some of the olive oil. Brush the wedges with the remaining oil and sprinkle with a mixture of the ground coriander and salt. Roast for about 25 minutes, or
until the sweet potato is tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down a little. (The wedges can be“eaten warm or at room temperature.)

To make the dipping sauce. Very finely chop the lemongrass or grind finely in a spice grinder. Whisk with all of the other ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside.

When ready to serve, place the wedges on a large, flat serving dish. Sprinkle with the diced chile and cilantro leaves, and serve with the sauce on the side.

Cucumber and Poppyseed Salad

6 small cucumbers (about 1 lb / 500 g)
2 mild red chiles, thinly sliced
3 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
4 tbsp / 60 ml white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/2 cup / 120 ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp superfine sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers at an angle, so you end up with pieces 3/8 inch / 1 cm thick and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2inches / 3 to 4 cm long.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the flavors gently into the cucumbers. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar and salt according to the quality of the cucumbers. The salad should be sharp and sweet, almost like a pickle.

If not serving immediately, you might need to drain some liquid and adjust seasonings.

Cucumber Salad with Garlic and Ginger

Dressing
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and
sliced
1 tsp Maldon sea salt
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 small (or 8 mini) cucumbers (1 1/4 lbs),
peeled
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
3 tbsp chopped cilantro

To make the dressing. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Add the sliced red onion, mix well and leave aside to marinate for about an hour.

Place the ginger and salt in a mortar and pound well with a
pestle. Add the garlic and continue pounding until it is also
well crushed and broken into pieces (stop pounding before it
disintegrates into a paste). Use a spatula to scrape the contents of the mortar into the bowl with the onion and dressing. Stir together.

Cut the cucumbers lengthways in half, then cut each half on an
angle into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl,
followed by the sesame seeds and cilantro. Stir well and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

Before serving, stir the salad again, tip out some of the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl and adjust seasonings.

Harira with Lamb

1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 3/8 inch dice
7 oz boneless lamb rack or shoulder, cut into 3/8-inch dice
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp superfine sugar
2 1/2 lb canned tomatoes, chopped
5 cups chicken stock or water
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
pinch of saffron threads
3 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
4 to 6 lemon wedges
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Start preparing the soup the night before by putting the dried chickpeas in a large bowl with the baking soda and covering them with plenty of cold water—it should cover the chickpeas by at least twice their height. Leave at room temperature to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the soaked chickpeas, place in a large saucepan, and cover with plenty of fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 to 1½ hours, until the chickpeas are tender. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Increase the heat, add the diced lamb, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the lamb is sealed on all sides and has taken on a bit of color. Add the tomato purée and sugar and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, drained chickpeas, stock, and some salt and pepper.

Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Use a large spoon to skim off any scum that forms on the surface, then cook for about 35 minutes, until the meat is tender.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the soup. Season the soup with the cumin, ginger, and saffron. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

When ready to serve, bring the soup back to a boil. Wash and drain “the spinach leaves and chop them coarsely. Add the spinach and cilantro to the soup just before you bring it to the table. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Zhoug

1 1/2 cups, tightly packed, cilantro leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
2 serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
4 cloves, ground
Scant 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 garlic clove, peeled, green shoot removed, crushed or chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water

Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil and water in a mini-food processor or small food processor and pulse several times. Add the olive oil and water and pulse until you have a coarse paste. It should not be a purée.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onions

About 1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for pans
4 large red onions
Coarse salt and black pepper
4 pounds butternut squash cut into 1/2-inch wedges, peeled or unpeeled
1/3 cup pine nuts or shelled green pistachio nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, cilantro or a combination, for garnish

FOR TAHINI SAUCE (OPTIONAL)
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly coat two large baking sheets with olive oil.
Peel onions, leaving root ends intact. Cut each onion in half from stem to root. Cut each half into 4 wedges, leaving the root intact so that each wedge holds together. Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.

Put the squash in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, peel side down (if intact).
Place both pans in oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions, as they may cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier.

If using pine nuts, pour 1 tablespoon oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add nuts and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown and smell toasty. Immediately remove from the heat and dump onto a cutting board to stop the cooking. If using pistachios, chop coarsely when cool enough to handle.
To make tahini sauce, place tahini in a bowl. Add lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or a tablespoon of olive oil if necessary.

When the vegetables are cooked, set aside until ready to serve. (The vegetables should be served the same day they are made. They can be served at warm room temperature, or reheated just before serving.)

To serve, arrange vegetables on a large serving platter. If using tahini sauce, drizzle on top. Sprinkle herbs and, if using, nuts on top and serve.

Saffron Cauliflower

1½ tsp saffron
1/3 cup boiling water
1 medium cauliflower, divided into
medium florets
1 large red onion, sliced
2/3 cup golden raisins (if they are very dry soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain)
½ cup good-quality green olives, pitted
and cut lengthways in half
4 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
salt and black pepper
4 tbsp roughly chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the saffron strands in a small bowl and pour over the boiling water. Leave to infuse for a minute, then pour the saffron and water into a large mixing
bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, and mix everything together well with your hands.

Transfer the mix to a medium ovenproof dish, cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but still a bit firm, not soft. Halfway through the cooking time remove the dish from the oven and stir well, then cover again and return to bake.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, take it out of the oven, remove the foil and allow to cool down slightly before stirring in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Excerpt From: Ottolenghi, Yotam. “Plenty.” Chronicle Books LLC. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Chicken with Cardamom Rice

3 tablespoons sugar (40 grams)
2 1/2 tablespoons barberries, or use currants (25 grams)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups/250 grams)
2 1/4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (1 kilogram), or 1 whole chicken, quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 cardamom pods
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
1 2/3 cups basmati rice (300 grams)
2 1/4 cups boiling water (550 milliliters)
1 1/2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves (5 grams), chopped
1/2 cup dill leaves (5 grams), chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (5 grams), chopped
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (100 grams), mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

Put the sugar and scant 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the barberries, and set aside to soak. If using currants, you do not need to soak them in this way.

Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and wipe the pan clean.

Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 1½ teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and use your hands to mix everything together well. Heat the frying pan again and place the chicken and spices in it. Sear chicken for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it part-cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan, but don’t worry if they stick to the chicken. Remove most of the remaining oil as well, leaving just a thin film at the bottom. Add the rice, caramelized onion, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Drain the barberries and add them as well. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.

Pour the boiling water over the rice and chicken, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, remove the lid, quickly place a clean tea towel over the pan, and seal again with the lid. Leave the dish undisturbed for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the herbs and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm with yogurt mixture if you like.

Harissa

1 red bell pepper
¼ tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp caraway seeds
½ tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 medium–hot fresh red chiles,
seeded and roughly chopped
½ tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 to 3 tsp coarse sea salt

Preheat the grill to high, then grill the bell
pepper for 15 to 20 minutes, or until blackened all over. Transfer
to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and allow to cool. Then peel
the pepper and discard its seeds.

Place a frying pan on low heat and lightly dry-roast the coriander,
cumin and caraway seeds for 2 minutes. Remove them to a
mortar and use a pestle to grind to a powder.

Add the olive oil to the frying pan and heat, then fry the onion,
garlic and chiles on medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, to a dark
smoky color. Cool slightly, then tip into a blender or a food
processor. Add the remaining harissa ingredients, including the
grilled pepper and ground spices, and blitz together to make a
paste.

Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella with Tomatoes

½ tsp fennel seeds
grated zest of 1 lemon
15 basil leaves, shredded
2 tsp chopped oregano
2 tsp best-quality extra virgin olive oil,
plus extra to finish
2 tsp grapeseed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp Maldon sea salt
black pepper
8 to 9 oz buffalo mozzarella
2 ripe medium tomatoes (red, yellow or mixed)

To make the marinade. Scatter the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-roast until they begin to pop.

Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush roughly. Place the crushed seeds in a small bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients.

Break the mozzarella roughly with your hands. Smear it with the marinade and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.

To serve, cut the tomatoes into wedges and plate along with the marinated mozzarella. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.